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| Tuesday, 16 October 2018 |
Indonesia Version

Improving the Lives of Strays
Wednesday, 08 November, 2017 | 15:08 WIB
Improving the Lives of Strays

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta,

Rescuing Pontianak`s Cats

Pontianak Stray Cats Care, or Poscar, invites town residents to protect and adopt stray cats. The community has saved hundreds of street cats.

Dian Salima’s backyard is a playground for her 24 cats, most of whom were rescued from the streets of Pontianak, capital of West Kalimantan Province. Dian has a large pen for cats who have been with her for quite some time, and a smaller pen to quarantine newly rescued cats. "Newcomers are usually sick and infected with diseases," said Dian, 39.

Dian has been rescuing cats since she was a teenager, though she would never keep more than 10 as she did not know where to send the cats after they had been given proper care. Dian was not a social media user and was not in the habit of posting information on cats in need of homes. 

But she changed her strategy after meeting Ozarrino, 25, at a veterinary clinic in Pontianak. Ozar, like Dian, also rescued and cared for stray cats. The two, along with Ozar’s friend Adhec Nur, agreed to work together. "We couldn’t bear seeing stray cats live miserably on the streets," said Dian, who works at a pharmacy. 

Ozar, an entrepreneur, said at first only friends and neighbors would adopt. But because many of his colleagues also began adopting, he thought it would be a good idea to expand his network. Ozar invited Adhec Nur and Dian to found the Pontianak Stray Cats Care (Poscar).

At first, Poscar’s activities were limited to exchanging information on stray cat adoption between members. Since the community was established two years ago, it has saved hundreds of stray cats. Most are adopted by Pontianak residents who get information from Poscar’s Facebook, while the rest are distributed among Poscar’s around 30 members. 

Lately, the community has been raising awareness on stray cats through social media, schools, as well as events such as the Street Cats Festival (FKK) they held in February. At the FKK, held at the residence of Pontianak’s deputy mayor, 30 local cats competed in a cat fashion show and pet show. "We wanted to show through the FKK that street cats are no less cute than the more popular purebreds," said Ozar.

Poscar also feeds stray cats on a regular basis. While they make their rounds, Ozar and friends also administer medication, for example for treating intestinal parasites and eye or skin irritation. For cats with a fever, the community administers traditional remedies such as chicken eggs and honey. "When we find cats that are suffering from serious diseases, we rescue them for medical treatment," said Ozar. 

Changing people’s perceptions towards street cats is Poscar’s biggest challenge. Monica, or Icha for short, says many still see stray cats as a source of diseases, as food-thieving creatures, and as aggressive animals difficult to domesticate. As a result, stray cats are often maltreated and fail to receive adequate care from humans. 

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